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Who Is Gingrich-Backer Miriam Adelson?

By Gabrielle Birkner

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Sheldon and Miriam Adelson

Miriam Adelson, the Israeli-born wife of multibillionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, will donate $5 million to a “super PAC” backing Newt Gingrich for the Republican presidential nomination, The New York Times reported Monday. Her gift to Winning Our Future — the group behind the 28-minute video takedown of Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital — comes two weeks after her husband gave $5 million to the super PAC, and days before the Florida GOP primary.

Just what do we know about the wife of one of the world’s wealthiest men?

She’s a Doctor: She studied internal medicine at Tel Aviv University and worked at Tel Aviv’s Hadassah Hospital before moving to New York, in 1986, to study the biology of addiction. Through her research, she became an advocate for prescribing methadone to drug addicts who have failed to stay clean. “As a physician I opted to help them, because I have a weakness for weak people,” Miriam Adelson told Haaretz in 2008. “In medicine one also considers what is less harmful: If we do not give them methadone, they will continue to inject heroin with dirty needles, and will become infected and infect others with AIDS and hepatitis, and the hospitals will be flooded.”

She’s a Mother: Miriam Adelson has four children. She and her former husband, physician Ariel Ochshorn, have two grown daughters: Yasmin Lukatz, a casino executive with Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corporation, and Sivan Ochshorn, whom a website that tracks campaign contributions (yes, she backs Republican candidates) identifies alternately as a homemaker and a senior analyst for Las Vegas Sands. Sheldon and Miriam Adelson have two younger sons together, Adam and Matan.

She Met Her Husband on a Blind Date: That was back in 1988. When they married three years later the couple “took more than a hundred and fifty guests to Israel on a private plane; they stayed in the King David Hotel, in Jerusalem, and attended a reception in the Knesset’s Chagall State Hall, where Chagall tapestries hang,” according to a 2008 New Yorker profile of Sheldon Adelson.

She Inspired the Venetian: Well, sort of. It was the Adelsons’ honeymoon in Venice that gave Sheldon Adelson the idea for his 4000-suite Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, The Wall Street Journal reported.

She Founded Drug Treatment Clinics: Dr. Adelson established drug abuse treatment clinics in Las Vegas and Tel Aviv. The website of the Dr. Miriam & Sheldon G. Adelson Clinic in Las Vegas touts Miriam Adelson’s commitment to helping young addicts. “With the rapidly rising use of painkillers by teens, Dr. Adelson’s desire is to be able to help teens re-establish themselves in school and lead normal lives,” the site reads. “Dr. Adelson successfully developed a methadone program for treating teen addiction to opiates.”

She’s a Big Giver: Her reported $5 million donation to a pro-Gingrich super PAC is dwarfed by some of her and her husband’s other recent donations, including $10 million to Taglit–Birthright Israel — the couple has given more than $100 million to that organization in the past five years — and $25 million to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum and education center.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sheldon Adelson, Miriam Adelson, florida, israel, newt gingrich, republican primary, super pac, winning our future

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